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Hand in hand for eternity

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dad's Diary 3 - 'Joyee is an Enigma'


Joyee is an enigma. A riddle in which the pieces never fell into their assigned places till she started to knock on the teens-door. But she has yet remained to be an unsolved puzzle in her totality.

Joyee with her pet Rushtu when she
was much younger
We had all crowded the nursing home lobby the day she was born, the first of our three grandchildren. An hour or so after her eagerly awaited arrival, a smiling nurse raised her before a see-through glass panel. I remarked almost involuntarily, “A bundle of divinity.” Indrani, my wife, agreed with an ear to ear smile, but pointed out that she had furrowed her forehead and had been crying non-stop noisily, not happy at all to be out in the world.

She plainly had a grouse against the world right up to age 3. But that's when I had a different glimpse of her own tiny world. Fatema, a household-help, a divorcee with two kids, one Joyees's age, and one a few months old, was instrumental in opening that special door. This was in Bangalore. 



On that morning of revelation Fatema came to work in a foul mood. Her former husband was still giving her trouble. On top of that Joyee's contemporary kid was proving too much troublesome. Fatema took the child out in the veranda, and started giving vent to her own frustration on the child. The muffled wailing warned Joyee who jumped down from her bed and scurried out.

Joyee in one of her moods 
What attracted my attention was the coincidence of disappearance of Joyee's legs into the veranda and total silence outside. I hurried out. Joyee's tiny world appeared to be going round and round the only conceivable sun in it, Fatema's 3-year old, on which a silent Goddess spread her body, face down, creating a veritable shield between the sobbing child and her tormenting mother. Fatema stood there awestruck.

When her mother had brought home her brother a year earlier she had shrieked, “Where have you brought him from? Throw him away.” But when she was barely 6, she once locked her eyes into mine with fury oozing out of hers, raised her pointer, and warned me, “Slow down, he is only a baby.” All I
did was to rebuke her brother for nagging, and brought my arm down on the wooden table with some force. I still remember that look, and of course I was the one to blink first.

Joyee was fond of going to the Gul Mohar Club, Delhi, to play with other children. Before coming  home at dusk she routinely visited the library where she read the newspapers amidst the fathers and grandfathers of the area. “Reading newspapers at home is not much fun,” was her view. That must have prepared her for taking to writing seriously when the residence changed from Gul Mohar colony to Sheikh Sarai which had no club of her liking. Today, at age-13, she boasts of a blog spot of her own (joyee-bhattacharya.blogspot.com) where she  has plunged into airing her rather radical views about life and living.

Miss Beautiful
She got herself equipped with a harmonium, tabla (drum), and a music teacher to learn singing, classical ones, and gave up her efforts nearly a year and half  later presumably because it drastically eroded into her time for reading and writing. Two years earlier her school teacher assigned the class to assume any character from 'Cinderella' and write that character's feelings at midnight at the prince's dancing party. Joyee sprang a surprise by choosing to be the wall clock pouring out its heart for Cinderella.

Like her wildly swinging mood between positive and negative poles, Joyee's love for literature does evenly match her hatred for mathematics. To quote from her blog, “I hate it more than smelly socks, lizards, cockroaches, or puke.” When she is seized of math homework problem, any reference to her brother's prowess in it could land anyone in deep enough misery.

She has even gone public about her relations with her parents : “We fight, I scream, you ground me, I disobey you, and at times even raise my voice against yours which always lands me into deep deep trouble. But whatever I am today is because I had you with me. I love you.”

Her father now-a-days is acutely conscious of her presence anywhere. One day he came back home from work, extremely preoccupied with some problems, missed Joyee's - 'hello baba' – but   acknowledged his son's (Ishaan) greetings a step away. The 'spitfire' quipped immediately, “Am I non-existent or invisible?” Her father hurriedly retraced his steps and gave her a warm hug to save the situation, and also himself from the trouble of suffering a long lecture on the philosophy of fairness and justness in righteous indignation.

When she takes my breath away
The 3-year old toddler's 'noch yer fend' (not your friend) rebuffs a dozen times by breakfast has amply graduated into a tempestuous tongue lashing whenever she can seize an opportunity. She is avowedly a 'no nonsense' girl – sorry, 'super woman' - placed to deal with a nonsensical world as a member of the “weaker sex”. I keep telling her if all the women could somehow emulate her diatribes, the definition of “weaker sex” may have to be redrawn.

And it is precisely for that reason my love for the eldest of my grandchildren is tinged with growing respect.

  




     

26 comments:

  1. She is an amazing young woman! You should be proud!

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  2. Wow, Mitr your dad continues to amaze and inspire me with every post of his.I have become his most ardent fan and please tell him to start his own blog and I will be his first and most devoted follower.Love this post and Joyee takes my breath away too.Thanks for sharing your dad's beautiful tribute to his granddaughter, with us.

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  3. Your father has a very firm grasp on what being a gandfather and loving your grandchild is all about.

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  4. So beautifully written. A pleasure to read.

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  5. I love these entries. Joyee seems like a remarkable person!

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  7. Thank you sooooo much! :-D

    This is amazing!
    Thanks Minama for putting this up and Daju for liking it!
    I love you both!

    My best birthday gift ever! :-D

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  8. Lovely! Joyee is amazing. I am sure everybody is very proud of her. Loved once again reading your dad's writing and his skill at narration and power of observation. Thank you for sharing this with us Kriti.

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  9. What a touching and loving post! Thank you Kriti for sharing this beauty of love and life!!

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  10. Thanks all for your lovely comments and encouragment

    @ Harley - I am really proud of her and so is my Dad : ) @ my dear Mitr - my Dad is so delighted with your comment. Thanks a ton for all your love @ jmount43 - he does. He is an awe inspiring father and an even better grandfather - if that is possible... @Ardith thanks so very much.... @ Sweepy - thanks a ton! @Joyee - always darling always : ) @ Rimly THanks a ton for commenting. You are so encouraging! @ Nina - thank you for comment : )

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  11. Kriti, I'm with Joyee in my love for literature... and often felt when I was her age that math was worse than "smelly socks, lizards, cockroaches, or puke" too.
    Thanks for this lively and enjoyable post!

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  12. Thanks a ton for your comment Debra! I hated maths too - and still do. Thanks for taking the time to read it!!

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  13. Oh yes, that's my girl...she turns 14 today, and I know she will grow up to be a strong willed, independant and an admirable young woman! I am proud of her and of my dad. He's weaved such a beautiful story by putting all these small incidents together! I love them both to bits.... :)

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  14. Thanks for this post it made me think about my grandparents ( all of them past0
    And how much I miss them. Appreciate it.
    Jim

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  15. Jim - thanks a ton for your comment! Much appreciated! I used to dote on my granddad too - to the extent I didn't have any friends till he was alive - he was everything to me : )

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  16. That was a fabulous page from uncles diary!! I loved it !! I am with Joyee : I still detest maths and always will!!! Thanks for sharing,Kriti.

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  17. Hey thanks Prats - took me a while to make out that this one is from you. Following you now... : )

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  19. Hey Kriti, It's a great experience to read your post! I am fan of the style of of this writing.

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  20. Thanks a ton Dhananjay - I love your encouragement...

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  21. I reread this and your a really wonderful communicator
    Thanks
    Jim

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  22. I have never heard of a prouder grandfather! Beautifully portrayed picture of the enigma of Joyee with such lucidity. I am deeply captivated by this piece and I see where Joyee's talent springs from - her very own hugely talented grandfather of course!

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  23. Jim - you rock - thanks a ton!! Yoshay - thanks a ton for coming by - Dad really is a proud grandfather....

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  24. As a parent of 2 grown girls and 1 boy,, you've taken me back to the joys and frustrations of raising them. And sure there will be tantrums, and tears, but they're testing the boundaries, testing you, to see how strong you are. Too often parents give way, and that's a failure in their eyes. Kids want strong, loving parents. Even though they rebell, it's their way of seeing how true your character is. As they mature, they'll love you more because you were strong, and helped them accept where life's boundaries are.
    Ever noticed how angry young kids are, the ones who have never had strong loving parenting?

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  25. That is so profound Jim! Love your comment. I am going to remember that all my life. I have a 21 months daughter myself and desperately trying to learn parenthood by trial and error. I realize though at the end of the day - its just your instinct and the love of your own parents that you can fall back on. But your piece of advice is great.

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